Hail To The Cheese! Social Media’s Growing Role In How We Interact

Hail To The Cheese! Social Media’s Growing Role In How We Interact

Sometimes my timing is great even when I don’t realize it. Last week, when I wrote about how social media can make or break your brand, one of the points I tried to get across was that social media allows you to respond quickly to customers’ questions and concerns. It helps you build one-on-one relationships with them, getting a better understanding of their needs and wants, and letting you explain any steps you are taking to try to serve them better.Although I didn’t know it, even as I finished that piece and sent it out, someone was about to launch a massive effort to do just what I had been talking about. In this case, though, it was a little more interesting as it had to do with tweets from the White House rather than a business! Brittany Vaill, one of EMSI’s social media strategists, made me aware of the deliciously named Big Block of Cheese Day. It was an annual social media event sponsored by the White House the day after the president’s State of the Union address. (I promise to explain that name in just a minute!) On Big Block of Cheese Day, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and nearly 50 other Washington dignitaries or officials took turns answering questions through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr. Imagine! The average citizen’s easy access to the powers that be in Washington would have been nearly impossible in the past. Beyond that, though, I also think Big Block of Cheese Day is one more example of how relevant social media has become in how we interact at...
How Social Media Can Make Or Break Your Brand

How Social Media Can Make Or Break Your Brand

Often – much too often in my view – I talk with CEOs who are still resistant to getting involved with social media. It’s as if they view sites such as Facebook and Twitter as little more than pesky annoyances that are irrelevant to what they do. But, they fail to recognize just how powerful social media is for promoting their brands, communicating with customers and handling damage control when complaints come tumbling in. What they don’t realize is that abstaining from social media isn’t really an option any longer. Social media carries on with or without you, and there’s a chance you are already a part of it – through people’s reviews and comments – whether you like it or not. As I thought about the changing ways in which businesses and customers interact, I turned to two of our social media strategists, Jay York and Brittany Vaill, for some insight about the role social media plays in that interaction. “One good example is how Facebook is being used today as a customer-service platform,” Jay says. “More and more customers now go to a company’s Facebook page to send them a message, instead of making a phone call. Customers want to talk to you on social media and they expect you to talk back.” If you don’t have anyone managing your social media accounts, though, those consumer questions and complaints are met with silence – and that’s not good. Jay reminded me of a situation not long ago when he began handling social media for one of our clients. Prior to us taking it on, no one had...
Give Your Social Media Efforts  The Gourmet Touch

Give Your Social Media Efforts The Gourmet Touch

If you and your company haven’t gone all in with social media by now, it’s time to make the commitment as you solidify your marketing plans for 2016. Long gone are the days when you could afford to be a dabbler in social media. It’s developed into a full-fledged profession all its own, and many colleges offer courses and even majors in social media marketing. Yet to this day I still see companies that do little with what should be a great marketing opportunity. Instead, they depend strictly on strategies that worked for them 10 or 15 years ago, with little or no awareness of the new digital tools that are available. Frankly, even some companies that make the effort to embrace social media are missing its true value. How far do some of them miss the boat? Here’s how far. Jay York, an EMSI social media strategist, just told me about a company that recently advertised a social media job opening. To Jay’s amazement, the company offered to pay the social media strategist a commission based on sales that resulted directly from the efforts. Yikes! That’s a clear misunderstanding of social media and the role it plays in marketing. While social media certainly can lead to sales – especially for inexpensive items that people buy often – that’s not really its primary purpose. Social media is best for building a relationship with potential customers or clients, serving as a critical part of your overall branding efforts. Let me share a few steps to help you get the most out of your social media efforts in 2016. Understand. Opportunities...
The Media May Take A Holiday Break, But You Shouldn’t On Social Media

The Media May Take A Holiday Break, But You Shouldn’t On Social Media

Holidays can be a challenging time to reach the media. Just as you and I might take some time off, so do many print journalists and people who work in TV and radio. That leaves just skeleton crews to handle breaking news or read story pitches coming in. But don’t forget that, beyond the traditional media, you have another venue always at your disposal for promoting your brand – social media. If you’ve been neglecting the social media aspect of your overall PR efforts, now would be the perfect time to remedy that. Even if you’ve been making good use of social media, this is a great time to improve what you’re doing or perhaps try a few new approaches. I know that, whether it’s during the holidays or any other time of the year, the EMSI social media team always tries to stay abreast of the latest trends. As an example, social media strategist Brittany Vaill took advantage of a new option on Twitter that allows you to create a poll that your followers can participate in. The best part is that Twitter tabulates the results for you. She created a poll for one of our clients and wound up with a whopping 13,000 people who potentially saw it. Of course, trying something new like a poll is just one way to grab an audience’s attention. I asked Brittany and the rest of the social media team for additional advice to share about generating social media interest as the year winds down and as people are focused on the excitement and stress that holiday preparations bring. One overriding...
What Hashtags Mean To Your Marketing

What Hashtags Mean To Your Marketing

Not so many years ago, I paid little attention to that pound sign on my computer keyboard. You know, the one that looks like this: #. Then along came Twitter and what we have come to call the “hashtag,” which has changed social media marketing forever. With their wide use now on many different social media platforms, I began to think about how to best use them to promote your brand. I asked Jay York, EMSI’s senior digital marketing strategist, to share his thoughts. “If you are not using hashtags, you are missing out on exposure,” Jay says. “When you are on Twitter or Instagram you are trying to become part of the conversation. The hashtag allows people to find your contributions to the conversation. Without them, you are missing out on lots of eyes that could be viewing your content. “Let’s say you have 1,000 people following you on Twitter,” Jay says. “Not counting re-tweets, then only 1,000 people will see your posts if you don’t use a hashtag.” Add a hashtag, though, and you start picking up momentum because the post has the potential of being seen by, and re-tweeted by, any number of people.  A common hashtag, such as #love, can position your post to be seen by potentially millions of people. Jay says while there are great benefits to hashtags, there also are pitfalls. Hashtags don’t come with exclusivity. Anyone can use them, so a hashtag can become a weapon that works both for you and against you. Critics of your brand, or just the usual assortment of Internet trolls, may attempt to hijack your...
Why The Latest Social Media Trail Leads To Instagram

Why The Latest Social Media Trail Leads To Instagram

Whenever I think I’ve heard the last word on ways social media can give an added boost to how businesses market themselves, new information arrives that leaves me wondering: Are we just starting to see the tip of the social media iceberg? I was reminded once again of this ever-evolving situation when EMSI social media strategist Jonathan Sellers made one of his regularly scheduled appearances on the local NBC affiliate news show. Jonathan and the host, Stacie Schiable, engaged in a lively conversation about Instagram, a mobile photo and video-sharing service that’s moving up quickly as the new social media darling. In fact, the ever-bold Jonathan gave me this prediction: The use of Instagram, already outpacing Twitter, will surpass Facebook in three to five years! If Instagram is where the potential customers are migrating to, businesses and their marketing strategies will need to follow. So, if you’re a business owner and don’t know much about Instagram, Jonathan suggests you start learning posthaste! Jonathan’s observations about Instagram didn’t end with his chat with the TV host. He also penned a blog post about Instagram, and it’s so chockfull of insightful information that I decided to share it with you. Here’s what Jonathan wrote: Instagram is the hottest social network around these days. People are joining the network in droves, and according to statista.com, they passed 300 million monthly users in December of 2014. For perspective, Twitter currently has 284 million active users. So why are people so intrigued? • It’s visual. Social media has been moving to more visual content for a couple of years now. The pictures and videos...